A Brief History of Love is the debut album from Britishelectronic rock duo The Big Pink. The album was released on 14 September 2009 on 4AD. The Big Pink signed with 4AD in February 2009, and won the prestigious NME Philip Hall Radar Award for best new act. The band were also named as "one of the most likely breakout acts of 2009" by the BBC. Prior to the album's release, the band issued three singles: "Too Young to Love"/"Crystal Visions" on the House Anxiety label in October 2008, "Velvet" on 4AD in April 2009, and the non-album track "Stop the World" in June 2009. "Dominos," the album's first proper single and the band's fourth single overall, preceded the album on 7 September. Milo Cordell stated that the band produced the album themselves at Electric Lady Studios in New York City, and Rich Costey mixed the album (with the exception of "Velvet," which was mixed by Alan Moulder). Cordell also told BBC 6 Music how A Brief History of Love came to be the title for the release:
Every song is a love song to some degree, about every different aspect of love... The good, the bad, the boring, the exciting, the dreams, the nightmares, the whole thing, and I guess that's what encompasses the whole album, and we have a song called "A Brief History of Love" so it's apt.
In addition to the singles "Dominos" and "Velvet," the album features re-recorded versions of previously released tracks "Too Young to Love," "Crystal Visions" and "Countbackwards from Ten." A Brief History of Love charted on the UK Albums Chart at #56, and "Dominos" charted on the UK Singles Chart at #27. A reissue of "Velvet" in February 2010 charted at #149.
Critical reception to A Brief History of Love has been overwhelmingly positive. The Daily Telegraph awarded the album 5 out of 5 stars, and said the album "shapes up as something of a modern masterpiece."Gigwise awarded the album 4 out of 5 stars, and wrote: "It's a testament to the notion of not judging a book by its cover then that The Pink's debut LP is a heavy and gallon deep adventure into a murky darkness which sees stadium pop choruses do battle with industrial noise and an almost constant whirr of feedback."Contact Music described the album as "reminiscent of the best bits of the '90s indie scene but with the added depth of synths and the wall of guitar 'noise'. A Brief History of Love is a brilliantly bold debut that would be an asset to any record collection - it will draw you in further with every listen." The duo was picked as one of Beyond Race magazine's "50 Emerging Artists," resulting in a spot in the magazine's #11 issue as well as a lengthy Q&A on their website.
In August 2009, "Velvet" was included on Pitchfork Media's Top 500 Tracks of the 2000s list, voted in at #500. On Pitchfork's end-of-the-year Top 100 Tracks of 2009 list, "Velvet" was voted at #42, while "Dominos" was voted in at #18.A Brief History of Love was voted as the seventh best album of 2009 on NME's 50 Best Albums of 2009 list.